PITTSBURGH -- The Steelers lead the Jets 24-3 at halftime.
Here are some notes at intermission:
The star of the first half for Pittsburgh has been starting tailback Rashard Mendenhall. Coming off a solid, 99-yard rushing performance in the first meeting between the Steelers and Jets, Mendenhall has run through and around New York already in the first half with 95 rushing yards and a touchdown. He's keeping his legs moving and breaking a lot of tackles. The offensive line also is playing tremendous football in the first half.
Speaking of the offensive line, Pittsburgh had a big injury in the first quarter when Pro Bowl center Maurkice Pouncey hurt his ankle. His leg was rolled on and he was carted to the back. The Steelers listed his return as questionable. But most likely backup center Doug Legursky will keep the job for the rest of the game.
Pittsburgh's defense is doing a great job of stuffing the run and forcing the Jets into third-and-long situations. New York has 1 yard rushing in the first half (not a misprint). That's forced Jets second-year quarterback Mark Sanchez into some tough situations where he hasn't been able to bail out his offense. Sanchez has just thrown for just 63 yards. He also fumbled during a sack by Steelers cornerback Ike Taylor, which was recovered by Pittsburgh's William Gay and returned 19 yards for a touchdown.
Steelers receiver Hines Ward has now caught a pass in 16 straight playoff games, which is one postseason game shy of the team record held by Hall of Famer John Stallworth (17). Ward has two receptions for 14 yards in the first half.